Blog Of A Thousand Posts – Our Greatest Hits

 

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Wirral Leaks en vacances. We’ve decided to enjoy our holidays earlier this year to avoid the high season hoi polloi.

As we reach another milestone, after crashing through the million hits barrier earlier this year , we were hoping that our 1,000th blog post would be a Wirral Leaks exclusive finally exposing the biggest scandal in Wirral’s political history. Alas, it would appear that the establishment are closing ranks on this one – for now anyway. However how long before the dam bursts and we’re all showered in the filth that’s been building up behind the wall of silence?

Meanwhile we thought we’d celebrate our latest landmark by recalling our top five greatest hits or to be more precise – our posts with the greatest number of hits. You may have your own favourite but in reverse order we have :

5 – PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT : PARKING FINES (January 2018)

Whilst we think there are far more serious concerns that should preoccupy the people of Wirral than parking fines, dog crap and litter but what we do get is their frustration with authorities abusing their power and screwing every penny out of them.

Public Service Announcement : Parking Fines

4  – THE GREEN SHOOTS OF SPRING (March 2013)

This is a blast from the past (2013 to be precise ) when we wrote about former  Wirral Council highflyer Dave Green who subsequently and inevitably flew the  council coop along with a golden nest egg . Although we have to say we don’t know if the enduring appeal of this particular post is Green (who?) or the picture of the delightful Dita Von Teese.

The Green Shoots of Spring

3 – SORRENTO SHAME : HOLIDAYMAKERS CLAIM THEY FACED ‘RACIST ABUSE’ FROM EX-WIRRAL MAYORESS (October 2017)

With holidays in mind who could forget the ultimate ‘Brits Abroad’ story as  Wirral’s former Mayor and his charming consort aka Foulkesy and Lainey take their particular brand of personal decorum and international race relations to sunny Sorrento. Indeed it is alleged that similar kind of behaviour described in this shocking post carried on back in Blighty.  Which as Cllr Foulkes knows in particular – if there are no consequences or sanctions to your actions then you’ll just carry on just as before.

Sorrento Shame : Holidaymakers Claim They Faced ‘Racist Abuse’ From Ex-Wirral Mayoress

2  – THE BUNG, THE BAD & THE UGLY : SILENCE IS A GOLDEN HANDSHAKE (July 2015)

The time when the talk of Wallasey Town Hall and beyond was laid bare for all to see. Graham Burgess the man brought in to drain the cesspit ended up wallowing in the dirt and adding to the sleaze. There will come a day when we look back and remember that 2013-15 were the darkest days in Wirral Council’s history. The conduct of particular politicians and council officers throughout this period of time was morally and politically reprehensible and the repercussions are still being felt on Wirral to this day  ………

The Bung, The Bad & The Uggly : Silence is a Golden Handshake

 1 EXCLUSIVE :  WIRRALGATE (September 2013) 

…….talking of which – what could possibly be the enduring appeal of  this particular post ? We must credit where it’s due the power elite at Wirral Council might not be able to organise a bunfight in a bakery but when they want to organise a cover up there are no finer exponents in the land . We believe the reason they’ve managed to keep the Wirralgate scandal  under wraps for nearly 5 years is  parts necessity, part geography and part complicity –  where on earth would such a corrupt cabal have been able to get away with this town hall horrorshow other than on the insular peninsula where the power is concentrated in the wrong hands , where it pays to collude with the abuse of power and where the people are uninformed of the abuses of power being carried out behind closed doors and funded with their hard earned cash!  

And with that thought we’ll leave you. However keep sending in your stories and bulletins ,someone will press the publish button if they think it’s worth a plug and if the ‘big one’ finally breaks we’ll let you know ……….

 

blog en vacance

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Wirral Leaks Weekly Dispatch #19

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HAVE YOUR SAY ON PROPOSED PARKING CHARGES BEFORE JUNE 22

Derby Pool car park users have their say now its up to the rest of you to let Wirral Council know that drivers aren’t cash cows to fund fat cats.

ARTIST’S IMPRESSION OF THE WEEK

WW AI Latest 

Here’s the latest artist’s impression for Wirral Waters (are they still calling it that?)

Apparently so :

As well as creating a hub for marine ‘entrepreneurship, enterprise, skills and culture’, the complex will revamp the 1860s central hydraulic tower and engine house designed by Jesse Hartley as a copy of the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence. The Grade II-listed building was bombed during the Second World War and has remained largely derelict ever since.

Read more here : Wirral Waters Marine Complex

It wouldn’t surprise us that the next thing you know Wirral Council leader  Cllr Phil ‘Power Boy Pip’ Davies and the usual crew from the Wirral Chamber of Commerce will be jetting off to Italy to twin Birkenhead with Florence!

However it seems to us that Wirral Waters continues to progress with its opportunistic, ad hoc  developments. A dementia care village here, a marine complex there etc; etc ; – backed by a never ending portfolio of artist’s impressions . All very eyecatching – but not as eyecatching as the big red bridge in Tower Road that is still resolutely refusing to be put back in its place.

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Pic courtesy of Wirral Globe

BAMBOO HULLABALOO

From “Save Our Social Housing” Facebook group :

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Might we suggest that Labour Party members approach Wirral Councillors who sit on Magenta Living’s Board and particularly their Labour representatives Cllr Steve ‘Foulkesy’ Foulkes and Cllr Stuart ‘Witless’ Whittingham (or even Tory councillor  Jeff Green – after all he is Foulkesy’s ‘kindred’). Or perhaps not……

Magenta Living Board

AND FINALLY ……THE GIFT THAT KEEPS ON GIVING

Details of  latest Wirral councillors ‘Gifts and Hospitality’ register has been published . Needless to say we were particularly drawn to Council leader  Power Boy Pip’s entries. which are as follows :

Birkenhead and Tranmere leader of the council Cllr Phil Davies

March 11, 2018: Visit to New York for the City Leadership initiative – March 11 to 15, 2018, offered by Bloomberg Foundation.

Accepted.  

Value: unknown.

November 28, 2017: Meal and concert ticket at the Echo Arena, Liverpool offered by The Contact Company.

Accepted.

Value: unknown.

As our eyewitness source told us last November the latter was not just a meal and concert ticket- Pip  was in a private box….

 

….council leader Cllr Phil ‘Power Boy Pip’ Davies , seen bopping away in a PRIVATE box in the Liverpool Echo Arena at last night’s Queen & Adam Lambert concert, paid for the dubious privilege or at least made an appropriate conflict of interest declaration. Just sayin’ …… Full story here : A Repulsive Exclusive

We thought at the time that Pip could have been enjoying the hospitality of the Liverpool Echo itself  but it now transpires that he was the beneficiary of Asif Hamid’s largesse (!) via The Contact Company . As far as we’re concerned this is considerably worse in terms of conflict of interest , especially when you consider that Hamid is the Chair of Wirral Chamber of Commerce who have been the beneficiaries of Wirral Council generosity when it comes to giving the Chamber  grace and favour properties – sometimes at peppercorn rent. We would’ve thought that it would have been prudent of Pip to think twice before accepting such a gift.

But then we suppose this is nothing new for Pip. After all he is used to dancing to an old Queen’s tune isn’t he?…….

Where Are They Now Part 5 & 6 – Maura Noone and Mike Fowler

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We were alerted to this story by a search term on our website which read : “Maura Noone Reading”. This piqued our interest so we did a bit of further research and lo – or should that be low? – and behold we discover that Noone is astonishingly now Head of Adult Social Care at Reading Borough Council.  No,really !!!

Those who remember the 2012 publication of the Independent Review of Allegations Made by Martin Morton ( and Others) will know the furore that followed which led to the following front page headlines

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Of course this being Wirral Council there were no such sackings. Instead – and much to the horror of Tory councillor Lesley Rennie who claimed she’d been misled by Labour councillors about such matters – two of the worst offenders who were redacted out of the report, but we know them to be Department of Adult Social Services (DASS) senior managers Mike Fowler and Maura Noone , who were handed £100K + and ask to asked to go quietly on the eve of publication. There was incredulity and outrage that bullying,dishonesty and incompetence was rewarded. But no one was surprised.

However you know what they say about an ill wind and the hyaenas in high office soon realised there were rich pickings to be had from the calamity. The Local Government Association, North West Employers Association, Audit Commission(later to transfer to Grant Thornton) and future Wirral Council CEO Graham Burgess all gorged themselves on the corpse of Wirral Council. Whilst even when a report commissioned by Burgess when he became CEO implicated Fowler and Noone and others  in £31 million of toxic debts Burgess claimed that Fowler/Noone should never have been paid off there were merely whimpers  from the likes of council ‘leader’  Cllr Phil ‘Power Boy Pip’ Davies who meekly claimed that there was nothing Wirral Council  Pip claimed there was nothing they could do because those responsible had ‘left’. But they hadn’t just ‘left’ they had been rewarded with public money,their reputations were protected and Noone and Fowler were free to ply their trade elsewhere. Meanwhile former leader Cllr Steve ‘Foulkesy’ Foulkes was privately telling concerned members of the local Labour Party that he’d been ‘misled’ by officers (whilst writing to the Wirral Globe in praise of a disgraced DASS Director) .

We should never underestimate (or forgive) Pip’s role in this debacle  starting with the kangaroo court that that led to the ‘exoneration’ of Noone for any wrongdoing ( Fowler was sent a ‘letter’ saying what we’ll never know) aided and abetted service by a North West Employer’s Organisation report (which was later proven to be a whitewash and a sham).

Within a few months of cashing their six figure cheques Fowler found himself in another well paid sinecure at Brook Young People where he remains to this day .  Read here : https://wirralinittogether.blog/2015/07/06/corporate-abuse-of-disabled-people-neednt-sound-the-death-knell-for-your-career/

fowler brook job

Meanwhile Noone undertook n MA in Public Health at Liverpool John Moore’s University then landing a Assistant Director post at Northamptonshire County Council before bailing out prior to the Government sending in commissioners to take over the failing Council, which brings us full circle to Noone’s  latest post as Head of Adult Social Care at Reading Borough Council.

And so the (im)moral of this story seems to be that bullying ,dishonesty and incompetence remain no bar to high public office. It also helps to explain why so many public services are in such a mess – it’s not just about lack of money as let’s face it there’s always plenty of public money for reputation management.

 

Wirral Leaks Election Selection – 1 week to go

We didn’t know whether the local elections had been cancelled as you’ve all been very quiet and then suddenly our inbox (and your letterbox) has been pounded in the hope of a big finish and/or happy ending (!) and then suddenly we realised it must be the last week of local election campaigning!

GREEN SHOOTS

You poor ,poor people – it’s a case ‘Hobson’s Choice’ for most of you and if you’re living in Birkenhead & Tranmere ward you’re really unlucky – it’s a case of ‘Jobson’s Choice’!

Talking of which – here’s an interesting factoid :

Green Shoots

Just sayin’

SMEAR CAMPAIGN 

We’re a broad church here at Wirral Leaks and we’re always happy to redress the political balance if people approach us with tales of political hypocrisy . Here’s one we received this week from Kipper Central titled  Local UKIP Candidate in Smear Campaign

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Here we find ‘Labour Rose’  Cllr Christine Spriggs apparently involved in a smear campaign :

Paula Walters, the UKIP candidate for the New Brighton ward on Wirral council, is being targeted in a politically motivated smear campaign. The Liverpool Echo, owned by the overtly left-wing Trinity Mirror group which owns the Mirror stable of newspapers amoung (sic) others, has teamed up with local Labour councillor Christine Spriggs to try and force Ms Walters to stand down.

A smear campaign with racist allegations?  Perhaps Cllr Spriggs needs to check the conduct of her Labour colleagues Cllr George Davies and Cllr Steve Foulkes before she starts throwing stones in glass houses!

Just sayin’

ASTERISK OF HOPE 

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Talking of which many of our readers have been in touch asking permission to use Wirral Leaks content in their election campaigning only to find the object of their objections wasn’t standing . Most prominently – and once again for all the wrong reasons  – was Cllr Steve Foulkes aka ‘Foulkesy’ . Someone had done some research and sent us this picture of the 2015 election result and claiming that the asterisk meant ‘retiring councillor’ . We don’t want to dash their hopes but we think Foulkesy is here to stay . How else is this piece of poliical detritus meant to feel important? And what’s more the good folk of Claughton seem to enjoy the spectacle of fisticuffs with the missus!

Just sayin’

Wirral Leaks Election Selection – 2 weeks to go

Vote Goodies

PEACHEZ ‘N’ POLITIX 

So after being open for 6 months Wirral Council ‘s Planning Committee unanimously pulled the (butt) plug on Birkenhead ‘gentleman’s club’ Peachez . However the other Birkenhead ‘gentleman’s club’ was out in force bemoaning the bump’n’grind. Council ‘leader’ Phil ‘Power Boy Pip’ Davies even put in an appearance . Might we suggest this was more in support of Birkenhead & Tranmere ward candidate Paul Jobson – for whom the decision was described by Pip as a ‘fantastic victory’ – than a genuine concern that Peachez was turning the town into a hotbed of moral turpitude. Remind us , wasn’t Pip part of the crew who flew to sleazy Reno hoping to be twinned with a town who’s main attractions are booze,strippers and gambling? Whatever happened to that hook-up ? The only stripping Wirral councillors now seem to be in favour of is the stripping of public assets.

We think that Power Boy Pip’s appearance in the Liverpool Echo video included in their Pip on Peachez story should itself be x-rated. Inevitably Wirral Labour described his performance (and it was a performance ) as ‘powerful’. Pip once again used the phrase ‘sordid business’ and it was hard to tell whether he was describing Peachez , his blatant electioneering or Wirral Council’s modus operandi.

However we had to laugh at the inevitable inane comment from that ultimate exemplar of political and personal decorum Cllr Steve ‘Foulkesy’ Foulkes:  “I don’t know much about these places but I’ve not seen one in Liverpool on the main thoroughfare” he said sounding like a snooty, teetotal maiden aunt all of a sudden.

Bizarrely the refusal for planning permission was moved on the grounds that it would “not promote a positive image of the area”  – which prompts us to wonder whether any of the councillors involved in the decision leading to Peachez going tits up have actually been to Birkenhead lately? Just sayin’ !

THORNY ISSUE FOR LABOUR ROSE

Tory Wirral Council group leader Ian Lewis managed to get a front page from Wirral Globe ‘blasting’ reports that 170 foster children went missing in 2016/17. The revelations gave further insight into why Children’s Services have been deemed inadequate by Ofsted.  In response Paul ” Boycey’ Boyce , Wirral Council’s Director of Children’s Services was in in full ” that was then,this is now”  “right direction” “moving forward”  mode  – you know the drill by now. However taking things even further in her local election campaign leaflet Labour Rose (no sniggering at the back) Cllr Christine Spriggs simply rewrites history when it comes to the past failures in Children’s Services.

We readily acknowledge that since 2010 the decimation of local authority funding under Tory rule has had a severe detrimental impact upon local services.  However we would ask local politicians to be honest  – a big ask we know – and acknowledge in return, that many of the failings in recent years with regard to vulnerable people, both young and old on Wirral, have had more to do with bad management and poor scrutiny.  Consequently the £20 million (of your money) that Wirral Council are putting into Children’s Services are because they have had to remedy these past failings are less to do with “Tory cuts”.

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Seen at the Deen

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As we previously reported in our Reds Go for Greens post the most interesting battle at local elections in May will be in the Birkenhead/Tranmere ward where the local Labour group are determined to oust lone Green councillor Pat Cleary. Accordingly we’ve been keeping a keen eye on the frantic electioneering.

As Cllr Cleary’s support for both the Birkenhead & Tranmere Neighbourhood Forum and their concerns over the annexing of The Lauries by the Wirral Chamber of Commerce and Birkenhead Market Trader’s Association claims that they are being ‘ignored’ by Wirral Council in the latter’s ‘transformation’ plans indicate he is seen very much as the fly in the Birkenhead/ Tranmere ointment and needs to be swatted away come May . We’ll have much, much more on these two stories at a later date  : Birkenhead Market Traders

However today’s post concerns last week’s return of the Birkenhead Constituency Committee after a near six month hiatus. The choice of venue for the meeting was particularly interesting. The Committee meetings have hitherto always been held in Birkenhead Town Hall . However on this occasion it was held at ‘The Deen Centre’ on Borough Road. At first we thought the building was a misspelt tribute to Tranmere Rovers/Everton  footballing legend  Dixie Dean. We then discovered that ‘Deen’ is an Arabic word with several meanings but most usually taken to mean ‘religion’ or ‘faith’.

We understand that ‘The Deen Centre’ has been establishing itself not only as a resource for increasingly influential local Muslim community but the wider Birkenhead/Tranmere  community . This may explain the choice of venue for this particular Committee meeting. Although with Beaconsfield Community House and Birkenhead YMCA the area seems particularly well served with community resources for the hungry and the homeless.

Viewing the John Brace footage of the meeting it appeared to be the usual series of presentations . About one of which we’d like to ask  – when did it become OK to discuss someone’s personal circumstances in a public meeting? She who shall remain nameless describes a 56 year old woman as ‘old’ and is met with cries of “that’s not old” and raucous laughter . “If you met her – she looks 80″ came the response” !

However keeping it classy the meeting wouldn’t have been complete without a Foulkesy face-palm moment. Whilst encouraging  people who attended the meeting to continue to report crime Cllr Steve Foulkes uttered these words of wisdom :

Some people are confusing reporting crime with being labelled , I’ll say the word – a Birkenhead word – ‘ a grass’ ……………If anyone wants to give names of criminals who are operating in the area , use us ( councillors)  – we’re very good at being copper’s narks  

So having tried to downplay the use of a pejorative term to describe someone raising legitimate concerns with the right authorities (grass) Foulkesy then goes and uses a different but equally insulting word (nark) to describe an informant !  – fine work. But then from what we know of Foulkesy and his ilk they’re not that keen on people behaving in such a way   – unless of course they’re tooled up with a recording device and are willing to smear political opponents #Wirralgate.

Talking of which it just so happens Wirral Leaks has the names of some senior politicians who it is alleged have been involved in potential criminal acts. We would have forwarded them to Foulkesy but then suddenly remembered that there might be a slight conflict of interest!

Wirral Leaks Weekly Dispatch #5

More Money, More Troubles

This week’s Cabinet announcement concerning a council tax of 5.99% came as no surprise to anyone. Nor did Council ‘leader’ Cllr Phil ‘Power Boy Pip’ Davies inevitably blaming ‘Tory cuts’ for such a hike. However where Pip outdid himself in his budget proposals was suddenly finding £20 million down the back of the metaphorical Town Hall settee  “to prevent Wirral’s young people becoming victims of Tory policies.”

Now whilst we readily acknowledge that cutting off funding streams to local authorities is very much part of a shameful central government strategy to dismantle public services – and which the Labour administration at Wirral Council seem more than happy to go along with – we baulked at the rewriting history that was going on here . The playing of party politics with children’s lives and taking no responsibility whatsoever for the dire state of Children’s Services on Wirral was a new low even for Pip . But then it’s so much easier for a Council leader, who is in a permanent state of denial, to lay bad management,  poor decision making , laziness, and incompetence on the part of public servants and poor governance on the part of local councillors at the door of  ‘Tory cuts’. It was all very reminiscent of the first edition of the Town Hall propaganda sheet Wirral View turning the damning Ofsted report into Children’s Services into a good news item. We had the foresight to write : “The article on the damning Ofsted Inspection report is given more spin than Rapunzel on speed and has the title ” Children’s services to get major investment” ! Which we suspect will be the distorted shape of things to come. Full article here : First Glance at Wirral View

The October 2016 announcement of this ‘investment’ to recruit additional social workers ,improve training and management and provide more experienced, long-term leadership for children’s social care amounted to £2 million . Could it be a measure of just how much trouble Children’s Services are really in is that the required investment has increased TENFOLD ? ! 

The Emperor’s New Impose

However we do have a good news item to report and that is the retirement of Birkenhead MP Frank Field.  Well, that got your attention didn’t it! Unfortunately it’s not imminent , which is a shame – as anyone who witnessed his tetchy performance discussing Brexit on today’s Sunday Politics TV programme will testify . There he was all flush-faced and flapping hands as Stella Creasy the Labour MP for Walthamstow accused Frankenfield of “driving the Boris bus” . Which we can only hope wasn’t a lewd euphemism. Stella stood her ground and wasn’t having any of Frank’s passive aggressive nonsense telling him ” You can talk over me all you like Frank” . Full coverage here :  Frank v Stella

During the clash of handbags Frankenfield maintained that the public should have ” the right to every bit of information going”. Which is a change of tune from someone who once objected on Radio Merseyside about the Wirral public making Freedom of Information requests to Wirral Council . We just wonder whether this new found fondness for openness and transparency extends to persuading Wirral Council to finally publish a much heralded report dating back to 2015 which was written by Frank’s mate , Nick Warren. Frankenfield was whining to the local press as far back as July 2015 as to why the report hadn’t yet been published.  Now everyone involved -including Field – apparently wants to bury the report. What’s that all about?

However let’s get back to the matter of who Frankenfield thinks should inherit his kingdom. Apparently Upton councillor Matthew Patrick (aka Matty Patty) is the nice young man that Field would like to succeed him as the MP for one of the safest parliamentary seats in the land. But then we suppose there isn’t a deep pool of talent to draw upon in Birkenhead is there? But what about Foulkesy? Georgie? Crabby?, Doughty? we hear you cry. All we can assume is that Frank would like someone more in keeping with the aspirational artist’s impressions of a future Birkenhead that have been knocking about all over the local press this week.

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Artist’s impression of a possible future MP for Birkenhead

Speer’ of Destiny 

Talking of these artist’s impressions …..there were a slew of pretty pictures accompanying such headlines as Stunning new images of how Birkenhead could look in future as billion-pound deal is agreed’  concerning the Wirral Council/Muse Developments Joint Venture which includes potential plans for glossy new Council offices. Somehow a cheeky Wirral Leaks reader was suddenly minded to recall the work of the Third Reich’s architect , Albert Speer. 

We’re sure they’re not making comparisons with a power-crazed, progaganda-obsessed regime but rather just reminding us that the self-aggrandizing plans for a People’s Hall/Great Hall/Hall of Glory were never realized.

 

House of Bamboo

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It’s made of sticks.
Sticks and bricks,
But you can get your kicks
In the house of bamboo.
If you consider the ‘personalities’ involved and the issues it raises it might strike you as surprising that we’ve only just caught up the curious case of Bamboo Lettings. Furthermore if you ever wanted to know about how things work on Wirral and in the wider world of networking – here it is laid out for you in this deeply worrying story.
We were prompted to pursue this story by a recent correspondent who asked us:
Also can you advise re Magenta Living being a Social non profit org. starting up a subsidiary called Bamboo Lettings which is a joint venture with Torus Group (St Helens – Graham Burgess) which will increase the returns on some formerly social-rented stock by letting them at market rates for a period of five years.
At 31st March 2017, Magenta Living had transferred 5 properties into Bamboo Lettings, with the intention being that a further 95 properties will be transferred into Bamboo by the end of 2017-18. Magenta Annual Report 2016/17
It might be legal but who decides property A is Social – Property B next door is commercial and charges more? 100 now ,how many in future years? Still classed as a Charity? Stinks to high heaven……………..
However it should be noted it was a brave and curious Wirral resident who first raised the issue courtesy of a Freedom of Information request in May 2016 . You might be surprised to know this local housing development wasn’t lauded with a press release featuring fat felines grinning like the proverbial Cheshire cat. Maybe that’s because some deeply troubling questions might have been asked at the time – Bamboo Lettings – FOI request
It was left to Joe Halewood and his excellent welfare rights blog SPeye blog to pick up on the issues with this post in February 2017 where Joe writes :
Bamboo Lettings is owned by Magenta and Torus.  Magenta was the former council housing department of Wirral Borough Council, and Torus is the former council housing departments of Warrington and St Helens.  It has offices in Wirral and even its own Facebook page here and there you can see the strap line Bamboo Lettings is a private lettings company, with properties in Wirral, Warrington and St Helens.  Such contrived and opaque constructs are no longer needed reader!
Then belatedly, but God love him ,  Lib Dem Cllr Stuart Kelly tried to raise the profile of this dodgy development and introduced a Notice of Motion at a Wirral Council meeting in July 2017
LOSS OF SOCIAL HOUSING TO BAMBOO LETTINGS LLP (to be debated)
Proposed by Councillor Stuart Kelly
Seconded by Councillor Chris Carubia
Council notes the establishment of a private lettings company known as Bamboo
Lettings LLP between Magenta Living and a housing organisation called Torus.
Council notes that Magenta are planning to transfer under a lease arrangement up to100 social housing homes to Bamboo Lettings company for them to be let at full market rents.
Council notes that a three bedroom house offered for let by Bamboo in the
Woodchurch area will cost a prospective tenant £137 per week against the social
rent charged by Magenta of circa £97 per week in the same area (and against an
‘affordable’ rent level of £110).
In addition, Council is concerned that Bamboo Lettings also charge private sector
style ‘fees’; an example of these fees for a three bedroom house in the Woodchurch
area is:
 Application fee – £50
 Administration fee – £75
 Guarantor fee – £50
 Check out fee – £60
 Additional deposit for a pet – £100
Council believes that these fees are not linked to the service provided, are
unacceptable and extortionate and requests a justification for this regime.
Council notes the Cabinet Member for Housing has told Magenta that Wirral Council would not want to see larger 4 bedroom accommodation, those for older people and those adapted properties being transferred; and has highlighted to Magenta concerns about a number of disposals occurring in the same popular locations, thus reducing availability of social housing stock.
Council notes that there are currently 9643 people registered on the Choice Based
Lettings System, of which 2348 have a housing priority need.
Council has objections to the use of social housing in this way and requests (through the Council’s Managing Director for Delivery to Magenta Living) that the relationship with Torus/Bamboo be suspended to allow the Council the opportunity to fully investigate the use of social housing stock as de facto private rented houses https://democracy.wirral.gov.uk/documents/s50042720/Council%20NoMs%20-%2010-7-17.pdf8
Cllr Kelly elaborated further on his concerns about this development in this Wirral Globe article  – Councillor slams ‘unacceptable and extortionate transfer of former council houses’
Needless to say nobody took a blind bit of notice of the ‘Notice of Motion’ and that’s not just because Cllr Kelly is a Lib Dem with – let’s face it – no power or influence over Wirral Council whatsoever.
So let’s join the dots and explain why that might be the case and look at the interested parties who do have that kind of power and influence. First of all can we say that any joint venture between Magenta Living and Torus should have been called Red Bull(shit)- geddit?
First of all here’s the Torus Group Board or more accurately the Torus COMMON PURPOSE Board TORUS COMMON PURPOSE BOARD
We first highlighted the connections here : Where Are They Now? Part 4- Emma Degg
Torus 032
Wirral Leaks readers may recall the candy floss- haired one on the left is former Wirral Council CEO Graham Burgess who’s main claim to fame is that he once shared a hole at the ‘The Open’ with former Wirral Council Super Duper Director Kevin Adderley when it was last held in Hoylake. The man on the right is Rob’ Narcissist’ Young – a former Assistant Director of Wirral Council’s Housing Department.
Although surprisingly for such egomaniacs they’re quite shy about their involvement in this money-making racket masquerading as Tory housing policy : Companies House Officers
See how this works yet ? If you don’t , you need to realise that Magenta Living Board includes such Wirral Council  luminaries as Cllr Steve ‘Foulkesy’ Foulkes , Cllr Jeff ‘Kindred’ Green and Cllr Stuart ‘Witless’ Whittingham Magenta Living Board
Which raises the question as to why they were appointed in the first place – could it be they are the last people who’d raise questions in the best interests of those who need social housing?  Ever felt you’ve been bamboozled by bureaucrats?

Wirral Leaks Weekly Dispatch #2

Spot the deliberate mistake ! After this week’s prolific output a further Wirral Leaks post may seem like too much of a bad thing . It’s barely a month into 2018 and we’ve already had to concede that the announcement of our retirement was somewhat premature. But then as Wilde said : “To be premature is to be perfect” !

The thought of our departure to foreign shores has obviously stirred many Wirralians into action as we’ve been sent stories simply too good to pass up on (and what’s even better – where much of the work has already been done) .What’s more we have already noticed that campaigning for the May 2018 local elections has already started in earnest. But perhaps more than anything that explains our renewed impetus is further shocking information which has come our way and which needs exposing . Furthermore we guarantee the mainstream media will not touch it – but we’re keeping our powder dry on that one for now. However we’re left shaking our head in disbelief at the claims that are being made (and more importantly the damning evidence to back it up) . Meanwhile with the agreement with Her Ladyship  and support from Eldritch and Verity let’s all together plough on into oblivion ……….

Holiday Hypocrisy

Whilst we’re grateful that someone sent us the John Brace video posting of this week’s Liverpool City Region Combined Authority Transport Committee meeting we faced a dilemma as we didn’t know who’s face deserved a slap more as they gazed over to Brace to make sure he captured their reactions to Cllr Steve Foulkes’ contribution to the Mersey tunnel toll debate – Cllr Jerry ‘The Mouse’ Williams , Cllr Ron ‘ Rude’ Abbey or Foulkesy himself . Truth be told (an alien concept for some of the parties concerned) but it was no contest really – Foulkesy every time .

Watch in disgust from 12 :00 as Foulkesy turns to our beloved Mr Brace , tries to take the moral high ground and resorts to his non existent ‘conscience’ .Whilst professing to respect Tory Cllr Les Rowlands he then proceeds to slag him off for planning a holiday to coincide with this particular meeting. Now we might know his political allegiances but we don’t profess to know Cllr Rowland’s personal proclivities but we’d like to think his holiday won’t result in allegations of  racist abuse.Just sayin’

Sorrento Shame : Holidaymakers claim they faced ‘racist abuse’ from ex – Wirral Mayoress

Self Serve 

We understand that internal vacancies at Wirral Council are accessed by ‘Self Serve’. You really couldn’t make this shit up! Why do they bother with such bureaucratic machinations when it would appear that cronyism/nepotism/favouritism is still the main route to promotion we can only hazard a guess. Unfortunately we can’t report on this particular aspect further as it would appear that another feature of Wirral Council’s modus operandi – the culture of fear – is still very much in operation.

Road to Hell

If the Merseytravel Committee video was infuriating the John Brace footage of the Audit and Risk Management Committee sent us into paroxysms of rage and fury. Witness how the utterly pathetic ex- Tory leader and Foulkesy’s ‘kindred’ Cllr Jeff Green meekly raises the issue of bringing the £multi-million highways contract back in house like Uriah Heep with a serious Woodbines habit. The Nigel Farage sound-a-like says something along the lines of : ” Bein’ ever so ‘umble . Can we have a bit of case study. I’m not ‘solutioneering’ (!) I just want to know that the decision to bring the highways contract back in house wasn’t written on the ‘back of  a fagpacket’, if you would so please, kind sir”.

Observe and despair from 8:25

Why so coy Cllr Green ? You know that the decision was made behind closed doors using Cllr Phil ‘Power Boy Pip’ Davies’ special ‘delegated powers’ and with Frank Field’s personal approval. They obviously want to minimise suspicion about unlawful compensation pay-offs to the Wirralgate complainants – so what’s the next best thing ? A token bung and then a cosy job for life for keeping their gobs shut.  But then you knew that didn’t you Cllr Green ?- shame you didn’t have the balls to say it. Incidental dark comedic value is to be had from the ever oleaginous senior officer David Armstrong who promises a short report and ingratiating interim Monitoring Officer Philip McCourt who says that the commissioning of highways contract is a ‘live project’ and that report would be a ‘ partial measure’ – ain’t that the truth ! Then suddenly  Cllr Ron ‘Rude’ Abbey has a “Don’t Mention The War” moment and can’t help himself saying something completely bogus about discussing TUPE ( Transfer of Undertakings – Protection of Employment) regulations . Which ,is of course, as ARMC and us know is what this is all about : ” Listen guys, we can’t give you a massive pay out you wanted without raising serious questions so we’ll give you the next best thing and you can be responsible for Wirral’s highways . Let’s face it you can’t do a worse job than Colas / BAM Nuttall ” 

As this image and comment proves :

image1 (4)

Dear Wirraleaks,

The attached photo shows a stretch of Mere Farm Road which was “repaired” by the Wirral Council contractors 6 months ago.

They clearly did such a magnificent and cost effective job that it needs much more repairing now.

When will they learn that doing a decent job first time round is more cost effective or do they just love throwing public money away to private sector mates ????

In response all we can say is  – buy cheap, pay twice!

All Wrapped Up

In the case of this particular Freedom of Information request all we can say is have Wirralgate tape, pay through the nose.

Full details :Wrap around FOI

Screenshot_20180130-101108

All wrapped in cosily in a symbiotic security blanket. Snug as a mug with a bug (that’s a reference to the Wirralgate recording obvs)

Patience is a Virtue 

Dear Mr Robinson

I received this assurance from you on 19th December 2016

On 19 December 2016 at 11:42, Robinson, Eric <ericrobinson@wirral.gov.uk> wrote:

Dear Dr Smith

Thank you for your email below.Officers are considering the matters you have raised in your emails and I will respond to you fully in January.

Regards

Eric Robinson

Chief Executive

Wirral Council

Tel : 0151 691 8589

Email : ericrobinson@wirral.gov.uk

You did not specify ‘responding to me fully’, by January 2017. 

However January 2018 has now passed, and I can only surmise that your ‘Officers’ have been completely occupied with Wirral Council’s 2016/2017 ongoing catalogue of disasters.

For your convenience, I attach a reply I sent to Cllr Walter Smith, who contacted me in May 2017 as you hadn’t, with his view of the ‘Most Improved Wirral Council’ (the absolute definition of an oxymoron given the events of 2016/2017)

Patience is a virtue. I look forward to receiving your ‘full response’ as assured.

Yours sincerely

Dr Robert B Smith FCMI

Eric ‘Feeble’ Robinson is increasingly making Howard Hughes seem outgoing and gregarious. A local government patsy drowning in a mire of his own incompetence and other people’s corruption.  Hey, Stressed Eric! – you really should have spoken to your predecessor before you took up post. Oh – but wait a minute your political paymasters didn’t allow it did they? Protecting themselves and setting you up to fail as you didn’t know what you were letting yourself in for. Oh but you know now don’t you? And you chose the side of the people who pay your obscene salary. We sincerely hope and pray that one day you will regret that choice. In fact we’re working on it day and night – you may have noticed.

Meet the Talent

Without any fanfare – we wonder why? – Dave Fergus is the man who has taken over running Wirral Evolutions from Chris Beyga the disgraced former Managing Director of this arms-length Wirral Council experiment that went horribly wrong mainly because Beyga (aka Rosa Klebb) thought she was running her own personal fiefdom.

Meet the Talent

You will note from his profile above (can somebody please provide a translation of local government BS? ) that there is absolutely no mention of disability rights. Just the person you want running a service where apparently the thick as mince managers think that somehow they’re doing a favour to the people who actually pay their wages. We’re wondering whether we’ll  get a comment on this latest appointment from Wirral Evolutions ‘ Independent’ Chair and professional disability rights ‘champion’ Carey Bamber or ‘Non -Executive Director’ Cllr Phil ‘Power Boy’ Pip’ Davies? We’re not holding our breath.

Crime Report

We note that this week Mayor Joe Anderson was taken in for questioning ‘under caution’ by Merseyside Police in relation to the fraud probe concerning Liverpool City Council CEO Ged Fitzgerald and others . Power Boy Pip, Stressed Eric and others will no doubt be observing developments with interest – as will we !

Proceed with caution

Holiday Hypocrisy Part 2

And finally we understand that someone is taking a particular interest in Wirral Leaks from their undeserved winter break in the Dominican Republic. Answers on a postcard please…….

 

Wirral Life – But Not As We Know It!

 

 

Press release

No dissent and no discussion. Press releases and publicity shots only please.  

Before we go we’d like to comment on the local media scene of which we were a very minor part. All we can say is that we fear for the future availability of alternative views or political commentary (now matter how ‘caustic’ or ‘mischievous’).

With Wirral News having thankfully committed hari-kari (or happy dispatch) shortly after the launch of Wirral Council’s very own Wirral View other local news sources seem to have been well and truly annexed.

Of course the appalling Liverpool Echo has never been properly attuned to Wirral politics or indeed Wirral itself despite their half-arsed attempt at lamely calling the local edition Wirral Echo. It’s always been a mouthpiece for the gobshites at Wirral Council. And it surely won’t come as any surprise to anyone that we understand Liam Murphy , the former political editor of Liverpool Echo, is now working for the local Labour group and has been for some time. Murphy was welcomed into the local corrupt Labour fold a) despite refusing to publish the dodgy document given to him by Cllr Steve Foulkes aka Foulkesy intending to ‘smear’ former Tory group leader Jeff Green b) grassing Foulkesy and Cllr George Davies up to Jeff Green about the ‘Wirralgate’ conspiracy and then  c) playing  a covert recording of the ‘Wirralgate’ recording to Wirral Council communications czarina, Emma Degg! And to think this fine exemplar of journalistic integrity refused to take part in the Patricia Thynne ‘Wirralgate’ investigations citing the need to protect his sources!

However never did we think that Wirral Globe would succumb to the undoubted pressures exerted on them by Wirral Council and we’d be experiencing the dark side of the Globe – and it’s not just us who’ve noticed the puff pieces, press releases, avoidance of high profile controversial stories ( the Cllr Reecejones case, the resignation of WUTH  CEO David Allison etc; ) and advertorials for private healthcare – Varicose Veins and retail outlets –  Beds

All we will say is that the Wirralgate tape must be the most valuable recording since Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’  – what better way to fend off threats to your career or advertising revenue than being in possession of the recording (or more accurately Wirral Council leader Cllr Phil ‘ Power Boy Pip’ Davies listening to a recording of the ‘Wirralgate’ tape ).

Talking of advertorials we have seen the future of ‘journalism’ on Wirral and it would seem to be Wirral Life. The latest edition is here

Happy , shiny, Wirral Chamber of Commerce seemingly on every page, the same Botoxed, permatanned faces of Wirral’s business and ‘cultural’ (ha! ha!) elite in every edition . It looks lovely in their world but we wouldn’t want to live there – which may explain why we’re leaving you all to it!

One curious reader of Wirral Life brought our attention the picture of  a restaurant manager by the name of ‘Michael’ featured in the latest edition. Not only does his restaurant get a launch feature ,it also gets a glowing review courtesy of Nicky & Si who’s job seems to be going around gobbling grub and giving glowing reviews. Nice work if you can get it and you can get it if you’ve got the right connections- although needless to say we won’t be giving ‘Michael’ and his restaurant any free publicity even for a free kebab . However we would like to ask in this publication of publicity seekers why ‘Michael’ seems to be so modest ? Perhaps because he’s got a lot to be modest about ? Anyone able to provide the surname of this cheery chappy – as we understand he has a particularly interesting back story?

Mike Traynor 011

All we will say is always question how certain people get to where they are and exactly why they’re featured in the local media  – but exactly who’s going to do that questioning when we’ve gone?